Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Proud Mama

*NOTICE* My blog is full of many different posts, but since I am really lacking in the whole baby book department, I record momentous occasions, and milestones here as well. So, this post is the result of my amazement with Emma Faith...

Okay, Emma has been so anxious to start "homeschool". I tried to explain that homeschool just means learning at home, and we do that all the time. But, to satisfy her, we did some more worksheets today. Now, today, she had to write the word to match picture. I had planned on sounding it out for her to help, but she immediately insisted that she could do it all by herself. Evidently, she was right:

Monday, August 27, 2007

My favorite

I forgot to post my favorite picture from the park, so here it is. It is a rare occasion that we have a picture with Ben or I in it, let alone both of us. =)

Self-Control, or Lack-There-Of

Okay, Emma got up two nights in a row to go potty at about 11pm. Normally, this would not be much of a problem, however, I had gone to bed only a half hour or hour before. I was so startled when I awoke (and had so much on my mind) that I couldn't get back to sleep for many, many long hours.
It just so happens that I never did read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (I do not know how to underline!!), so I had checked it out from the library. After two nights of not sleeping (plus, this is Ben's night shift week, so my husband is sort of non-existent) the wise thing to do would have been to go to bed early last night, and get a good night's rest. I did not make the best choice. But I did finish my book about midnight, and although it did produce some amount of satisfaction, I am not sure it was enough to inspire a cheery disposition at 6am this morning. But, we made it, we had a good day, and here it is 7pm....and I am feeling pretty sleepy. =)
I am hoping to now get Emma from the library, but perhaps I should work a bit on self-control before I dig myself deeper into the hole of exhaustion. I have decided upon my discipline for my offense...I must go to bed early!!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just Hanging Around

It is so cool to be so close to the park. Thought I would take pictures just in case it is not always the case.


Emma says to me this morning, "Mom! When are we going to start my homeschool?"
(I am thinking, what do you think we've been doing all these years of your life??)
Then she says, before I can respond, "I really want to start kindergarten (Somehow meaning that she should be doing kindergarten with me)"
(Now I am thinking, where did you hear about kindergarten, and OH YEAH, you're ONLY FOUR!!!)
And then (again without me responding yet...) "Can I do a worksheet?"
ME: "Okay."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ranch Dressing...

Okay, so my husband has been on board with all of our quests to eating healthy food, because he is also very conscious of what we put into our bodies, and how we feel as a result of what we have put in. His weakness comes in several forms, but two on the top of his list are: Fiery Habanero Doritos (yes, MSG) and Ranch Dressing (yes, MSG). I try, however, to not take away anything of this great importance until a suitable substitute has been found. Now, of course, Trader Joe's does have an Organic Creamy Ranch Dressing, and it does not contain MSG. However, a friend shared this with me, and it is MSG free, as well as amazingly cost effective. Two of my favorite things.
So, the following is a mix for a powder to make ranch dressing. This recipe makes enough to last a long time...and can be stored up to a year in an air-tight container. (Recipe compliments of Everyday Cheapskate)

15 Saltines
1/2 cup dry minced parsley flakes
1/2 cup dry minced onion
2 Tbspn. Dry dill weed
1/4 cup onion salt
1/4 cup garlic salt
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup garlic powder

Put saltine crackers through blender or food processor until powdered. Add parsley, minced onions, and dill weed. Blend until powdered. Dump into bowl, stir in onion remaing ingredients.

To make ranch dressing, mix 1 Tbspn (YES, just 1 Tbspn!) of the powdered mix with 1 cup mayonnaise (I use light) and 1 cup buttermilk. Makes 2 cups ranch dressing.

Also, if you mix 1 Tbspn. of the powdered mix with 3 pkg. of cream cheese, you can use this as a yummy spread for wraps, or roll it in nuts to make a cheese ball.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Long Overdue....

Okay, so for our wedding, Ben and I received a cookware set that we have been using for...let's and a half years now. It has served us quite well, although, in the last year or so, I started noticing that the lovely nonstick coating inside our pots and skillets were getting scratched, and on some pieces, even peeling. This made me wonder, "Does it do any good to eat organic, healthy, or anything good for that matter, if it is mixed with small pieces of nonstick coating?"
Anyway, Macy's had a sale this past weekend and so we finally broke down and went to get a new set. It is so pretty....It is a stainless steel set by Cuisinart, almost too heavy for me to lift. I will have to work my muscles!! But they are wonderful, and I am so absolutely thankful. Of course, I didn't want to spend the money, so once I decided upon the set, I then argued with Ben for some time that we should put it back and wait for another time. He sent me and the kids off to wander while he purchased the set. So, tonight I am doubly (is that a word?) thankful. Thankful for our long overdue new cookware, and thankful that my husband knows me well enough to know when he needs to disregard my input. =)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Exposing the Blue Box

Okay, so we all grew up on KRAFT Macoroni and Cheese. It's the best, I know, we all generally feel that it is the best (except those that prefer the shells and cheese, which incidentally is also made by Kraft). Anyway, on my path to trying to be more careful about what we eat, etc., I discovered that most packaged foods (of the savory genre), or processed foods in the United States contain MSG, or monosodium glutamate which is a flavor enhancer. Not everyone has any reaction to it, but for some it can cause chest pain, stomach issues, etc. Anyway, the point is, once I discovered this information, I started noticing just how many products contain this additive. Yep, you guessed, the blue box contains it, as does Ranch dressing. I know. It's use is so prevalent, it is amazing. So, the link is to an interesting article about MSG.

Back to the point. So, I, trying to be health conscience, and give my children yummy, good-for-you food, spent about three times the amount of time it takes to fix the blue box, making macaroni and cheese. With GOUDA. Not just some whatever cheese, the good stuff. You guessed it, they don't like it. Well, they ate it, or at least a good amount of it. And who knows, maybe the whole wheat pasta increased their dislike, but they always eat whole wheat pasta, so I am thinking that is not the case. I thought it was good. But it occurred to me while eating it, "What has happened to us, as a society, that we now prefer the taste of chemicals dyed orange over real, good, yummy cheese?"
Oh, so sad.
Well, little blue box. You may have won this small taste-test battle, but you will not win the war!!!
Unless they have lunch at grandma's. =)

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Kids...

I could overhear Emma during her "rest" time, and this is all I could make out...
"Yes, I am going with John. (I'm thinking, "What??? WHO is John?")
"Okay, yes, John the Baptist is coming with me."

(I was laughing so hard I almost fell over.)

Emma: I have a joke. How about, you have cereal, then pour juice on it and it gets wet and you eat it!!!

Caleb: I have a joke. How about, cereal, then salad, then tomatoes, then a spoon!!!

2 for 1

Okay, in case you hadn't noticed, food is on the tip of my brain. It usually is, between cooking meals, snacks, and dishes, I spend at least 75% of my day in the kitchen. Anyway, here is a yummy meal that makes two dinners!!

I get Trader Joe's All Natural boneless, skinless chicken breasts. They usually come with 2-4 breasts in a package, but they are very large. With no added hormones or antibiotics.
Anyway, I put the chicken in the crock-pot with Trader Joe's All Natural Bar-B-Q Sauce.
Then when it's done, I shred all the chicken. The first night we have chicken sandwiches, usually on buns with cheese and extra Bar-B-Q for dipping.
I save the rest of the shredded chicken for the next night, PIZZA!
I use the Trader Joe's Garlic and Herb Pizza Dough, regular tomato sauce (but I add Italian Seasoning), then Mozzarella Cheese, the shredded chicken, and this mixture:
1 can organic black beans
1/4-1/2 bag frozen organic corn
Seasoned with chili powder and cumin, and salt to taste (about 1/2 palmful of chili powder and cumin)
It's like a mexican pizza, and sour cream is a great condiment for this one. So yeah, the chicken is about $6 a package, but since you can use it for two meals, it is totally cost effective!!! Okay, my chicken is almost done and ready to be shredded....

Fun in the...sink?

Well, Emma asks me pretty constantly, all day, every day, "What are you going to do with us?" I knew I needed to get some dishes done, so I told her that she was welcome to do dishes with me. So I got her out a bin of warm, soapy water, and set her to work on all the kid's plastic type dishes and cups. She spent a good 15 minutes washing dishes, and then Caleb came in and saw all the fun she was having. "I want to wash dishes too!!!" So, Caleb got a turn too. So it turned out to be educational, productive, and even fun...
P.S. Caleb did wind up soaking wet, just in case you decide to try this at home. Emma wasn't wet at all.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Tummies

Well, this dinner does not make my husband as happy as the other, but it did just fine. And it made him happier when I reminded him how cheap and healthy it was!!

Tofu Stir-fry
(Organic tofu from Trader Joe's comes in a two pack for 99 cents! So I make both packs and keep the leftover in the fridge for Noah, he loves it!!)
I slice the tofu into rectangles and grill it on the George Foreman.
Trader Joe's Stir-Fry Veggie Mix--Napa Cabbage, Bok Choy, Celery, Carrots, Broccoli, and Snow Peas, fresh and washed, ready to use (under $2 for the bag, which could also last two meals)
Crimini Mushrooms
Sesame Seeds
Slivered Almonds

Sounds yummy to me!! I just saute the mushrooms and sesame seeds, then add the veggies and almonds and tofu, and splash in some sesame oil, rice vinegar, and tamari (dark soy sauce.) Little bit of salt. The kids liked it, Noah loved his tofu, and Ben said it was "pretty good". He likes tofu just fine, but stir-fry is not his favorite. I asked Ben to rate it...He said, "when I saw it, a five. When I ate least a 7." There you have it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Yummy Dinner

Well, going organic can get very costly, especially on certain items. So, we just can't afford to do everything. In fact, we have significantly cut down on the amount of meat we are eating, just because it is very expensive, even the hormone free instead of completely organic. But, we seem to be getting along just fine, and it feels good to have good food in our home.

So, last night's dinner:

Artichokes+Stuffed Mushrooms+Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Salad=Happy Husband. Yeah!